Took Robbie to his first movie at a movie theater today. I've hesitated to do this before now because, well, the kid has trouble sitting still and being quiet. Today, however, we went to see the sequel to his all-time favorite movie Cars. Seemed the appropriate time to launch this experiment. And overall, things went pretty well. We saw the 3-D version because it fit best with our grocery shopping/lunch/nap schedule. Normally I really hate 3-D for movies, but I have to say that Disney/Pixar knows how to do it right, using the technology to refine their films rather than throwing cheap effects at us every few minutes to make a few extra bucks. Robbie had first seen a 3-D movie about ten days ago at Legoland (Bob the Builder), so he was familiar with the concept, but he was pretty much over wearing the glasses halfway through the movie. He claimed they made it dark and that he couldn't see very well with them on, so I traded him. The darkening effect was caused by the smudges left on the lenses from his M&M-stained hands. Regardless, he eventually decided he didn't like my glasses, either, so he just watched the rest of the film somewhat fuzzy. He didn't seem to mind.
Robbie did a pretty good job of sitting still, but he was anything but quiet. I kept trying to get him to whisper directly into my ear when he had a question, but he rarely did it. In his defense, the movie was pretty loud and I'm sure he felt he had to just about yell in order to be heard. I'm sure it wasn't as loud to the folks in the theater as I thought it was. And Robbie had a lot of questions throughout the movie. I had to convince him at times that everything was going to be all right, because there were some pretty suspenseful moments and Robbie doesn't respond well when characters in cartoons appear to be in danger. Which was unfortunate, because this was pretty much a spy/action flick where cars were being shot at, beaten up, or threatened every ten minutes or so. Still, in the end, Robbie really liked the movie. I liked it, too, though it's by far the lowest quality of anything Pixar has put out. For an animated kids' movie, it's actually pretty good. When you compare it with the Toy Storys or The Incredibles or Wall-E, or even the first Cars movie, it's just not in the same class. It's like all the guys at Disney/Pixar sat around a lunch table talking about ways they could make cars into spies. "Oh, and they could, like, fly! And shoot rockets!" "Sweet! And give him magnetic tires so he can drive up walls!" And then they went ahead and made that movie, because yes, an action flick with flying, rocket-shooting cars that can drive up walls and are voiced my Michael Caine is awesome. And the action in this movie is very cool and clever. The visuals are, as always, amazing. There are some chuckles. And there's still a welcome sincerity to the film, if not the usual depth of emotion or storytelling. It's not a great movie, the story is pretty meh, the moral feels pretty forced, but it's pretty good summer action fare for kiddos and parents of kiddos. (Kind of funny, this movie struck me as sort of the anti-Cars. The first Cars film started with lots of flashy noise and spectacle, but was ultimately a character-driven piece about the need to slow down and enjoy the simpler things and the relationships in your life, and this movie is pretty much a big, loud, explosion-laden globe-trotting endeavor that barely takes a break once it gets going. Which is one of the few similarities to the first Cars movie: takes a while to get to the story)
Bah. What am I doing? I didn't log on to write a movie review. But don't worry, I've analyzed this thing quite a bit since this afternoon and I could keep going for quite a while if I wanted to ;-)
You know how long the previews/commercials segment before the film seems to last? It seems about twenty times as long to a three-year-old. Plus, it was a Disney/Pixar movie, so there was another cartoon after the previews and before the movie. I was afraid Robbie was going to be over the whole moviegoing experience before the movie even started! Plus, the latest "don't add your own dialogue to the movie" blip--not as funny as the old one, by the way--uses some footage from Clash of the Titans, and that actually scared the kid quite a bit. As did the AMC promo where the three beautiful young adults of differing ethnicities sit in a theater that suddenly transforms into a wilderness of large, magical plants and fireflies. Which, really, is pretty disturbing. What happened to everyone else in that theater? Anyway, the only trailer that Robbie liked wasn't really a trailer per se. It was the opening scene from The Lion King remastered in digital 3-D. He loved it. And I have to admit, as I watched that old footage from my childhood touched up to look all purty, I was pretty moved. It was gorgeous. That was always my favorite Disney film, and watching that sequence reminded me why.
Unfortunately, I'm now out of movies for the year. I used up the last of my AMC card today, and obviously we're expecting money to be pretty tight for the next couple of months. I'd been saving that card for Captain America. I'm going to say I'd probably have enjoyed Cap more than Cars 2, but that's okay. I'll probably find a way to scrounge up the necessary dollars to take Kim to Harry Potter when it comes out. The rest can wait for Redbox. Today was Robbie's early birthday celebration (we also went out to Five Guys Burgers and Fries for lunch), so I wanted it to be a special occasion. And I'm pretty sure we accomplished that. Robbie was spouting out parts of the movie he remembered the rest of the night. We'd be playing with blocks, and suddenly he would say, "Oh, and in the movie, this happened!" In fact, about thirty minutes after he went to bed, I heard him moaning something about Mommy over the monitor. When I went in to check on him, he said, "I need to tell Mommy something." I told him to tell me, and I'd tell her, and eventually he said, "I wanted to tell her that Lightning McQueen was on the train tracks."
I told him he could go ahead and wait to tell her tomorrow. And I'll bet he remembers.